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Greek government changes definition of rape after initial draft law sparks backlash

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Greek government changes definition of rape after initial draft law sparks backlash
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Women’s rights campaigners in Greece are claiming victory after the Greek parliament got rid of new legislation that would have made it harder to secure rape convictions.

MPs rejected a government-sponsored bill that would have required the prosecution to provide evidence of physical violence. They revised the legislation to include “lack of consent” as enough grounds for a conviction.

Euronews correspondent Fay Doulgkeri told Good Morning Europe that the vote was “a big victory” for women’s rights campaigners, saying it came after a last minute change of policy from the government which was under “enormous pressure” from NGOs and members of the Greek parliament.

Talking to parliament on Thursday, Greek Justice Minister Michalis Kalogirou said: “The issue was widely publicised and also generated a social demand, as well as a false impression that rape had become a misdemeanour."

Greece became the 9th out of 31 European countries to recognise that sex without consent is rape, according to Amnesty International.

After the adoption of the new law, there was a lot of satisfaction among the activists that were campaigning for the change.

In a statement, Eirini Gaitanou, Amnesty International Greece’s Campaigner, said: “This is a historic victory, not just for the campaigners who have fought long and hard for this day, but for all women in Greece.

This newly amended law finally recognises the simple truth that sex without consent is rape and makes it clear that physical violence is not required for the crime to be considered rape."

Gaitanou noted it was vital that guidelines were enforced by the criminal justice system as well.

“It is now time for everyone involved in the criminal justice system to be given clear guidance as to how this change in the law must be implemented to make it easier for survivors to get justice."

The impact will be positive for the governing Syriza party because it shows they paid attention to what the people had to say, said Doulgkeri.

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